May 20–August 12, 2018
Paintings and an installation by Lucas Arruda were presented at Fondation Beyeler in Basel as part of Nature and Abstraction, an exhibition exploring perceptions of the natural world in works from the Beyeler’s collection. Room 21 was devoted to small-format paintings from the artist’s Deserto-Modelo series (2015–18), while an adjacent room featured a projection of hand-painted slides based on these works.
Painted from memory and characterized by their subtle rendition of light, Arruda’s landscapes and seascapes depict atmospheric conditions with only the subtlest suggestion of a horizon line. "It’s the idea of a landscape rather than a real place," he explains. Using evocative and textured brushstrokes, Arruda foregrounds the materiality of paint while also recalling historical associations with the notion of the Romantic sublime. The title "Deserto-Modelo" references the Brazilian poet João Cabral de Melo Neto, for whom the idea of a desert is conflated with timeless and irrational thought. Similarly, as the Beyeler notes, Arruda invokes the desert as a metaphysical realm, with "modelo" signifying not only a model, but also a kind of vision or state.